Trojans Mount Comeback to Beat ASU, 67-64|
March 11, 2015
LAS VEGAS (AP)- Elijah Stewart scored 27 points and hit two free throws with 3.4 seconds left after a big block by Nikola Jovanovic, helping Southern California rally for a 67-64 win over Arizona State in the Pac-12 tournament on Wednesday.
No. 5 seed Arizona State (17-15) was in control most of the way before USC rallied in the final five minutes to set up a frenetic finish.
The 12th-seeded Trojans (12-19) led by three before Arizona State's Shaquielle McKissic scored on a hard drive with 53 seconds left. McKissic had a chance to give Arizona State the lead after the Sun Devils grabbed two offensive rebounds, but Jovanovic swooped across the lane to swat his shot away.
Stewart hit 6 of 9 from 3-point range and Julian Jacobs added 12 points for the Trojans, who move on to face rival UCLA in Thursday's quarterfinals.
McKissic had 16 points and nine rebounds in his final game with Arizona State. Bo Barnes added 15 points.
Arizona State opened the conference season with four straight losses, but rebounded nicely. The Sun Devils played some of their best basketball down the stretch, winning six of their final nine games.
One of those was a victory over USC that was closer than they would have hoped.
Despite playing without Katin Reinhardt due to a suspension, the last-place Trojans had Arizona State on the ropes in Tempe, leading by 10 with 10 minutes left. The Sun Devils struggled from the perimeter, but hit a pair of late 3-pointers to pull out the 64-59 victory.
Arizona State again had trouble getting shots to fall early, particularly around the basket.
Barnes gave the Sun Devils a lift, scoring eight points in less than 2 minutes, and McKissic added five points during a 15-2 run that put Arizona State up 25-14.
Arizona State also grabbed nine offensive rebounds that led to 12 more shots and a 38-28 first-half lead.
USC was good from the perimeter, making 4 of 6 from 3-point range, but had 10 first-half turnovers.
Arizona State opened the second half with some ugly possessions, but still managed to keep the lead in double digits.
The Sun Devils went up 55-41 after McKissic scored in transition, but the Trojans still had some fight in them.
Behind a tightened-up defense and Stewart, USC went on a 12-2 run. Stewart capped with a 3-pointer, cutting Arizona State's lead to 60-55 with 4 1/2 minutes left,
USC kept charging, going up 65-62 with just over a minute left after scoring on consecutive baskets in transition and a floater by Jacobs.
The Trojans pulled it out at the end, giving them a shot at their biggest rivals.
The Trojans had lost their last four Pac-12 tournament games. ... USC made 7 of 13 from 3-point range.
USC faces fourth-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Thursday.